Despite the bugs John and I were big fans of Battlefield 2 from Electronic Arts so
when we got the chance to talk about the port of the game to the console we jumped
at the chance. We were lucky enough to
talk to Marcus Nilsson, the Executive Producer of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat about what we can expect from the
console version of one of our favorite games.
GamingNexus: Are the
classes the same as the ones in Battlefield 2 or did you have to tweak them for
the console version? How is the
character persistence (points) compared to Battlefield 2 on the PC? Will it be
the same in terms of point scale and unlocking extras at certain levels? Is there still only one unlock per class?
Marcus Nilsson: The
classes are the same in principle but we did balance them differently and give
them a few new weapons for console. You will not unlock upgrades like you do on
PC, but you will rise in rank from Private to General, and achieve medals along
the way for your accomplishments.
GamingNexus: What are
the major differences between the Xbox and PlayStation 2 version? How did you have to modify the controls for a
console audience? How did this impact
the controls for the vehicles?
Marcus Nilsson: Actually,
both consoles have the same content and gameplay. We’re very proud of the fact
that we’ve been able to get 24 players on both platforms, in addition to over a
dozen vehicles, and on huge maps. We made the game a little more accessible
than it is on PC, and this meant tweaking the controls a little in most cases.
We did some drastic things like adding a beginner control setting for
helicopters, so people have that option. However, because this was built from
the ground up for console, we always focused on making the controls perfect for
the system the game is on.
there any plans to release new content for the game after it’s launched such as
maps, vehicles or weapons?
Marcus Nilsson: We
are working on downloadable content right now, and
we’ll be announcing more details about this soon.
GamingNexus: Will you
be able to use the keyboard and mouse on the PlayStation 2 like Unreal
Tournament on that platform?
Marcus Nilsson: No,
we will not support the keyboard and mouse, but after you play a match and see
how the game was specifically designed with a controller in mind, I don’t think
you’ll miss this.
Battlefield series is not known for having a strong single player experience
nor having any story driven elements. What have you done for Modern Combat to
deliver a good single player experience? Has the AI been improved as the AI in
the franchise has never been a strong point on the PC side?
Marcus Nilsson: Hotswapping
is a key new feature, and it gives you control of any soldier in your squad as
long as you have line of sight. The campaign forces you to fight on both sides
of the war, and you are constantly receiving conflicting news reports and
mission objectives. There are 20 missions to complete, and then you must decide
which army you believe and lead that army to victory.
GamingNexus: How are
you going to combat cheating on both platforms?
Marcus Nilsson: We
take the online play very seriously, and use the online demo and beta tests to
identify areas where cheating can occur. We then fix those areas. Also, in the
game the team has the option to kick a player if they get enough votes, so the
community can also regulate itself in this regard.
2 has been pretty beat up for the bugs that are in the game. With the delay
from the 2004 release, talk about how you confident you are in releasing a
relatively bug free and balanced experience and how the extended time has
Marcus Nilsson: Our
target from the very beginning was to release a game with zero bugs in it. We
are happy to report that we reached this goal on both platforms. Will there be
something that we missed? Perhaps. However, we have been working on this game
for almost three years now, so we’ve had a lot of time to deliver clean and
GamingNexus: Are there
any thoughts about a next gen (Xbox 360, PS3) version of the game?
Marcus Nilsson: We
have an Xbox 360 version in development now, and we’ll be releasing more
details on this very soon. We’re going to be doing some new things with the
Battlefield franchise, but of course staying true to its roots.
how popular Battlefield 2 is are you expecting people to migrate over from the
PC version or is this game more aimed at bringing new people to the franchise?
Marcus Nilsson: It’s
a little bit of both, actually. We know we have PC fans who are going to pick
this up to experience hotswapping and the deep single player campaign. They
also will want to try out the 13 completely new maps, as well as the new
vehicles and weapons. However, this is also the most accessible version of
Battlefield, so it will attract new people who either don’t play on PC, or want
a deep offline experience.
GamingNexus: The demo
for the game quickly became one of the most popular games on Xbox Live
(according to the stats posted semi-weekly by Major Nelson), did this catch you
by surprise at all? Did you get a lot of
feedback from the demo and were you able to incorporate any of it into the
Marcus Nilsson: We
expected the demo to be popular, but we were surprised by how popular it was
right off the bat. At one point we were the #4 Xbox Live game in the world, and
the demo was only available in the US at the time. We’re still in the
top 10 almost 4 months after it released. So again, we’re very pleased and it
just goes to show how addictive the multiplayer is. We were able to implement
some of the feedback we received in the early stages, but we actually didn’t
get too much. We received a lot more feedback from out online Beta test early
in the year, and that let us make some very good adjustments to the gameplay.